Pica is an eating disorder that causes you to eat things that aren’t food, like paper, clay, paint chips, dirt, or hair.
Most things that people with pica eat aren't really harmful. However, paint chips can contain lead, which causes lead poisoning. Dirt may contain eggs of worms or other parasites, which can infect you.
Pica isn't diagnosed in children younger than 2 years old. Very young children who are healthy often eat items that aren't food.
Some people eat nonfood items as part of their cultural or religious tradition. Pica isn't diagnosed in such people.